Waitākere College

School Librarian Represents New Zealand in Free Flight World Championships

Mr Ackery is soaring to new heights as he prepares to represent New Zealand in the Free Flight World Championships held in Moncontour, France from the 12th - 19th August.

With over 300 competitors from more than 40 countries competing for the Wakefield International Cup, Mr Ackery and his team are set to compete in the F1B category, which involves the use of rubber-powered aircraft.
Mr Ackery's love of model aircraft flying spans over 40 years, including both the construction and flight of these remarkable creations. His passion has taken him to all over the world, where he has honed his skills and earned recognition for his expertise. Recently, he showcased his talents in the World Cup events held in New South Wales, Australia, where he achieved 2nd place in the Southern Cross Cup.

The F1B category, in which Mr Ackery will be competing, revolves around the utilization of rubber-powered aircraft. These aircraft rely on a wound-up rubber motor to drive the propeller and generate thrust. Once launched, the planes enjoy powered flight for approximately 40 seconds before transitioning into a gliding phase. A timer strictly limits the maximum flight time to 3 minutes. Pilots must then chase their planes on foot, aided by a transmitter-receiver system integrated into the aircraft.

Success in free flight aviation relies on understanding and adapting to various environmental factors. Air temperature, wind speed and direction, and identifying thermals play crucial roles in achieving optimal flight performance. Observing the behaviour of soaring hawks, which glide effortlessly without flapping their wings, often signifies the presence of a thermal updraft. 

For Mr Ackery, the allure of free flight extends beyond the thrill of competition. From the initial building stages of the aircraft to the social camaraderie and the sheer joy of being outdoors, he enjoys every aspect of the sport. One particularly breathtaking moment is the "mass launches," where numerous participants simultaneously release their aircraft into the sky- a truly spectacular sight.

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